Kentucky Appeals Court Judge Debra Hembree Lambert won the primary for the 3rd Division Supreme Court seat in Southern Kentucky by a wide margin, but the margin for the second spot in the November general election was razor thin.
Complete but unofficial returns showed Circuit Judge Dan Ballou received 51 votes more than Circuit Judge David Tapp, out of 60,000 cast between them.
Tapp said Wednesday that he would not seek a recanvass.
Lambert took nearly 50 percent of the vote to easily outpoll Ballou and Tapp in the 27-county district.
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Lambert enjoyed superior name recognition. She represents the same region on the Court of Appeals, and is the ex-wife of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Joseph Lambert, who held the seat from the district for years.
Ballou benefited from an endorsement by Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, who taped advertisements backing Ballou.
Lambert and Ballou will face each other in November.
Lambert, a former family court judge for Pulaski, Lincoln and Rockcastle counties, was the first woman elected to the Court of Appeals from the 3rd District. She grew up in Bell County and lives in Pulaski County.
Ballou, a former U.S. Marine and district judge, has been circuit judge for Whitley and McCreary Counties since 2007. He lives in Whitley County.
Tapp, of Somerset, has been circuit judge for Pulaski, Lincoln and Rockcastle counties since 2004.
Incumbent Supreme Court Justice Dan Venters did not seek re-election to the seat.